Saturday, May 7, 2011

Weekend Cooking #9: Welsh Cakes (or as we called them as kids Welsh Cookies) also being an homage to my Mom Gracie

Recently, as I was reading Barbara Mitchelhill’s excellent World War II novel Run Rabbit Run, I came to page 157 and read the following sentence:

“My mouth watered at the thought of food – especially when I saw the table, which was covered with plates of ham and tongue and pickles and cheese and Welsh cakes.”

Well, my Id read that sentence too and immediately said “I want Welsh Cakes – now.”

We grew up eating these not very attractive, but very delectable treats.

It seems that when my mother was a head over heels in love newlywed, my father wrote to some relatives in South Wales and asked for the recipe. It was sent and mom promptly went to work whipping up a batch for dad. They were a big success, just like he used to have back in Wales, and so mom continued to make them on a fairly regular basis.

After my dad passed away, we didn’t have them for a long time. Then one Christmas, my mother couldn’t think of what to get me as a gift. She called me up lamenting about it, and my Id butted in and said “Say, mom, why make me a nice batch of Welsh cookies.” (We had Americanized the name by then)

So every Christmas and birthday, for years I received a batch of Welsh cookies as my gift and it was the best. But then, mom also passed away. And I didn’t realized how long it had been since I had a homemade Welsh cookie, except I had some I had bought in Cardiff a few times. But even that was a while ago.

So I told my Id, after we read the above mentioned passage, all is not lost. My ego had the good sense to get the recipe from mom long ago, and, as you can see, it was while she was still in nursing. Turns out, I had two recipes: one she wrote leaving out the raisins, one I wrote and it seems that poor recipe recording runs in the family:

I looked around on the internet for a recipe that is a little more explanatory and came across a blog called The Old Foodie 
This recipe is as close to mom’s as I have seen. So with all due respect and credit, I am repeating her recipe here, but do visit her blog as it s is a fabulous source for all kinds of foodie things.

Welsh Cakes
½ lb. self-raising flour
¼ lb. pure lard
¼ lb. sugar
2 oz sultanas or currants or raisins
1 egg
1 heaped teaspoonful nutmeg
1 heaped teaspoonful salt

Crumble the lard into the flour by hand; add sugar, sultanas, nutmeg, and salt. Mix in the beaten egg – adding a little milk if necessary – till just right to roll out to about a bare quarter of an inch thick. Cut into rounds about 2 ½ inches in diameter - a glass works nicely.

In the meantime the griddle should have been heating, and when you think it is ready, rub it over with larded paper. Try it for temperature with a scrap of dough and regulate the heat so that the dough browns evenly without burning in about seven to ten minutes, then place as many of the Welsh Cakes on it as possible. Turn over when all are evenly brown (about ten minutes) and cook the other side the same.

So I have done the unthinkable today and bought a block of lard and tomorrow I am going to try my hand at making Welsh Cakes a/k/a Welsh Cookies for the very first time.

I hope everyone has a very Happy Mother’s Day.

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post at Beth Fish Reads

Photo of Welsh Cakes from A Slice of Wales: A Collection of Tales to Tickle Your Taste Buds


  1. What a nice tribute to your mom to make these tomorrow :)
    I had never heard of these you eat them with syrup, like pancakes, or with jam or butter, like scones, or plain, like cookies?

  2. then what am I going to do with the rest of that big o'hunk of lard?

  3. They look delicious and I love the sentiment that comes with them! I've never heard of them, and I wouldn't turn them down either!

  4. I am very fond of recipes that are linked to a special person. Making and eating these special treats probably brought back great memories of happy times. That's the real value in these old recipes.

  5. What a perfect Mother's Day treat as a remembrance to your mom! Love the chunk of lard.

  6. What a great mother's day treat to bring back the memories. I don't think I've ever bought a huge block of lard.

  7. A very meaningful treat for Mother's Day! Old recipes are wonderful, but don't think I've ever cooked with (or purchased) lard ;-)

  8. I totally know what everyone means about the lard - that was a hard one for me. Welsh Cakes can be made with Crisco, but not with vegetable shortening. They come out like hockey pucks. But lard and the cakes freeze well. I freeze them and eat them a little at a time.
    BookGirl- just eat them like a cookie, great with a cup of tea.
    By the way, mine didn't come out as well as
    my mom's. I think they needed her special touch.

  9. A nice story behind the Welsh cookies!

    Thinking of lard, my arteries start to rattle and shake. I wonder if this recipe can't be made with simple (cooking) margarine or so.

    Anyway, have fun making them and hope they taste as good as ever!

  10. oh yes lard we had it at home all the time when I was younger and yes made cookies from it so nice to have great memories like you shared I am a new follower come see me at